Wednesday, 23 October 2019

Why the Slow Inquiry into the e-KTP Corruption Case?

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  • e-KTP. TEMPO/Tony Hartawan

    e-KTP. TEMPO/Tony Hartawan

    TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The many achievements of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) could easily be undermined if they keep on neglecting cases that have already reached the investigation stage. Many cases that began with an uproar have fizzled out before they are resolved. One example is the handling of the alleged corruption case relating to the supply of electronic ID cards, known as e-KTP. 

    After the initial enquiry on 2013, a followup investigation on April 2014 pointed to Sugiharto, former director for demographic information processing at the home affairs ministry, as a suspect. But nothing happened for the next two years. It was only last September that the KPK finally indicted Irman, a former director-general for demographic and civil records, for corruption.

    The fact that this case has progressed so slowly has aroused suspicions, especially since the KPK said right from the start that it had strong suspicions of embezzlement in the project first launched during the era of Home Affairs Minister Gamawan Fauzi. What is more, the Finance and Development Comptroller (BKPK) found indications that the state had lost around Rp2 trillion from this project.

    Suspicions of losses to the state were triggered by the difference between the technologies that were promised in the tendered contract, with those which actually appeared. One example is the identification equipment. In the contract signed on July 2011, the consortium that won the project tender, comprising Percetakan Negara Republik Indonesia (state-owned printing press), Quadra Solusindo, Sucofindo, LEN Industri and Sandipala Arthaputra, promised to use iris recognition technology, but in fact they only used a fingerprint-based system.

    In addition to the audit's results, there were other irregularities. The most obvious was the confusion in the execution of the tender, resulting in activities that failed to meet the deadline. The original completion target was the end of the administration of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, yet the data on population and the distribution of the e-KTP remain unfinished. This is why Home Affairs Minister Tjahjo Kumolo suspended the project on September 2014.

    It is not hard to conclude that the major figures behind this project are the reason for the late completion. Apart from Gamawan Fauzi, there are indications that Golkar Chairman Setya Novanto is also involved. Tempo featured an article detailing the way the project became the subject of machinations in the House of Representatives (DPR) and the chaos in the appointment of the tender winner. Former Democratic Party treasurer M. Nazaruddin has repeatedly claimed that the Golkar Party politician is involved.

    KPK investigators should not have too many problems finding evidence and detaining the main actors behind this scandal. Besides a wealth of evidence from various raids, there are also the revelations in the Panama Papers, documents leaked from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca that came to light in April. According to these documents, there are indications that Paulus Tannos, boss of Sandipala Arthaputra, a partner in the e-KTP project, has a business partnership with Azmin Aulia, Gamawan's younger brother. This could explain why Sandipala, a company with an unclear track record, was able to become involved in the e-KTP project.

    Uncovering and solving the alleged corruption in the e-KTP project will be a challenge for the KPK. The chaos left behind by this megaproject can only be uncovered if the legal proceedings related to the various apparent instances of embezzlement can be resolved first. Without this, there can be no hope that e-KTPs will enable a revolutionary change in our demographic administration system. (*)

    Read the full story in this week's edition of Tempo English Magazine